The Celtics will host the Bucks in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series on Friday.
The NBA Playoff series is tied at 1-1. Boston won Game 1 as Kyrie Irving had a strong game, and the Celtics managed to quieten Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the MVP favorite bounced back in Game 2. He had 29 points, and ten rebounds as the Bucks won by a margin of 21 points. It was a statement win from the Bucks, especially after the Celtics’ win in Milwaukee to open the series.
Antetokounmpo will be the key player for the Bucks yet again. Al Horford was effective in limiting him in Game 1, but he managed to evade him in Game 2. His ability to drive and kick out for shooters will come to the fore again, and Brad Stevens will have to deal with it. Khris Middleton was on fire in Game 2, as he downed seven three-pointers to finish with 28 points. Their shooting from beyond the arc was effective, as they were 20 of 47 from that territory.
Meanwhile, most of the Celtics had a quiet game. Irving was not at his best, and he scored just 9 points in the game. On the contrary, he had 26 points, and 11 assists in Game 1, and his teammates followed his lead to pull out the victory. The Celtics looked lost at times without his play-making, and he will need to step it up at the TD Garden. Boston’s shooting also needs to improve, as they shot below 40% from the field in Game 2.
Interestingly, both games have been decided in the third quarter. The Celtics outscored Milwaukee 36-21 in Game 1, and Milwaukee responded with a 39-18 quarter in the next game. Stevens will be the more worries coach ahead of Game 3, as he will have to counter the adjustments which Mike Budenholzer made.
If one looks at the head to head record, there is only one winner. Boston have won 16 of the last 22 meetings between these sides at the TD Garden. The Celtics’ home form is ominous, especially in the playoffs. These two sides met in the playoffs last season as well, and each game went to the home side as the Celtics won in seven games. Boston has the home advantage now, after claiming a win in Milwaukee.
Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
Kyrie Irving will have a significant responsibility in Game 3. His performance will be crucial for the hopes of the Celtics. He needs to score and assist, just as he did in Game 1. Boston also needs to hope that the Bucks don’t go off from the three-point line.
The Celtics would hold home court advantage and are expected to take the lead. Milwaukee won’t make it easy, but a home win should follow.
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